Police shootings have become an epidemic across the country. Here in Illinois, we face the same problems, and it is important to hold the police accountable for excessive use of force. Guns are dangerous weapons that must be used carefully by every – law enforcement officers included. A Joliet civil rights lawyer can help you protect your legal rights after any police shooting.
Most police shooting cases focus on the use of force. When officers are able to use non-lethal methods to restrain a suspect, they have an obligation to do so. A gun should be the last line of defense. Often there are far less dangerous methods of restraining a suspect or maintaining control of a crowd. It can be difficult for officers to know what to do in a tense situation that requires a split-second decision, but this cannot be an excuse to use excessive force in every situation.
Police departments are providing more and more training on the use of de-escalation tactics, and new technologies are becoming widely available. Officers must be held accountable for adapting to these new protocols. When they fail to use them, shooting suspects (and their families) must hold both individual officers and law enforcement agencies accountable for the damage they cause unnecessarily.
De-escalation training has been provided to law enforcement officers for many years. It is only now, in the midst of a cultural movement against excessive force, that police are actually being held accountable for adhering to the training they have already received. Many departments are revising and expanding their de-escalation training programs. Some programs are being rewritten entirely, with important new research coming from criminal justice professors. The more the public continues to demand accountability, the more these de-escalation tactics will be used by officers.
There is also an expanding list of technologies that allow police to de-escalate a situation with non-lethal force. Bean bag guns, tear gas, TASERS, and the new BolaWrap provide officers with a wide array of options to manage many situations. The companies that make these products are constantly expanding offerings and tailoring their products to law enforcement needs. The more options that are available, the less justification there is for officers to use a gun in any given situation.
Many police shooting cases focus on the officer’s need to make a split-second decision. Evidence of the many options an officer had to resolve the situation without shooting can be very powerful and persuasive to juries.
Across the United States, people are calling for an end to police shootings. Victims must hold officers and law enforcement agencies accountable for unnecessary shootings in order to discourage other officers from reaching for their guns too easily in the future. The Pinkston Law Group represents Joliet police shooting victims and their families. We work hard to fight back against police shootings in our community. Call (773) 770-4771 or visit our website today to schedule your consultation.
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